Creatives: Are We Ready for the Road Ahead?

Creatives: Are We Ready for the Road Ahead?

by Anthony “AO” Oropeza – Lead Creative & Owner of AOART5 – Dec 2022

Preface: Hello everyone — it’s me again — your friendly neighborhood Sports Artist and lead guy for my AOART5 Studio — AO. So, I am writing this to throw a few things at you, hoping to end your year and to start your new year with a bit of gratitude as well as a few things to think about in taking your creative business to the next level or half level.

First, I just want to say with all my heart — “THANK YOU!”
Thank You for your support, Thank You for your kindness, Thank You for you patronage, and Thank You for so many other things you have been a part of with me on this crazy artistic and creative journey these past number of years.

It has been an honor to have met, reconnect and have some kind of friendly relationship with so many of you. I have truly enjoyed and deeply appreciate the your friendship and appreciate that you enjoy, at some level, the work I do. It honestly means the world to me.

Second, I just want to let everyone know that I will make my best effort in 2023 to be more attentive to you and your orders and to provide a higher level of customer care and service. 

Finally, I will do my best to post more AOART5 Articles on our site. My plan is to post once a month (unless I get guest writers to contribute) about various topics in the creative and art world and how it connects to our AOART5 Studio. I plan on posting thoughts, experiences and more about my small worlds of painting, sports art, techniques, processes, design, marketing and maybe include my favorite coffee drinks and snacks while working. I will try to keep the articles short and sweet with the hope to inspire and give the current and next generation a bit of a push to be better creatives.

And no better time than the present to get started. Here are a few words to end the year about a topic dear to me and one that I am so intrigued to continue to learn about everyday — MARKETING. If you are an artist of any kind and want to take your work to the next level in business, this might assist you in some way. Best of luck out there and keep creating good stuff.

Thank you once again, it has been an honor to serve you as a client/friend.  Please hug your loved ones and have the Happiest of Holidays!

So let’s begin …

Market Your Year More Creatively in 2023

by Anthony “AO” Oropeza — Lead Creative & Owner of AOART5 — Dec 2022

Yes, 2023 is right around the corner, and if you are a creative working your craft to drum-up business and not the least bit ready — you’re going to lose out.

Lose out on what? Well, lose out on taking your work or creative business to the next level. Do you have a plan? No, I mean a written plan of some sort. If not, a marketing plan may help you and your business grow or at least advance your knowledge of the business going forward.

No one is saying you have to have a monster 30-page VML global marketing plan with all the bells and whistles of social media, video shoots, media purchasing, high dollar photo shoots, wining and dining of clients, big name celebs or anything like that, especially if you are a little fish like me and my studio. But, you know that having some type of plan will benefit you — some way, somehow. And if you are in any type of business (vs. a hobby), “A Plan”, of any size, is better than “No Plan”.

So being a student of marketing, I try to pick and pull from leading experts in the field — one of my favorites is Seth Godin. From his book “This is Marketing — You can’t be seen until you learn to see“, I love his quote, “It’s not going to market itself.”

Sports artist Anthony Ao Oropeza at his booth at the KC Comicon with several onlookers checking out his baseball and football sports paintings.

So when it comes to a marketing plan, especially if you have never created one, I suggest to start small. By all means THINK BIG, but stay small with the documentation you put out. If it is your first time creating one, again, start small and keep it simple, especially if you are a one-person creative army — kinda like me. Now if you have a small team of creatives, you may have more room for a larger plan, but I still suggest to keep it simple.

No matter what age you are in the game, no matter what game it is (painting, sculpting, comic books, gallery, etc.), the game will always be a marathon — not a sprint. But in a marathon, from what I understand, you speed up sometimes and then there are times you run at a slower pace — but your objective is to always keep moving forward.

Now, I cannot tell you what would make a good marketing plan for you, and I know mine could be and will be a bit better. But as I mentioned before, any plan is better than no plan.

So if you do not have a marketing plan of any sort or maybe have never created one, you may want to consider doing the research for a plan and see how it turns out.

No matter how you create your marketing plan, keep in mind something I have incorporated from the start of my journey and what Godin mentions in his book as an objective with marketing today: “Who can you help?” I believe that if you keep “Who can you help?” in mind, your work will be more rewarding and maybe more fun.

From what I have learned within the marketing world, a marketing plan is a necessary and valuable company document, and I have also learned that it is what it says it is: a plan. Yep, it is a plan. First, a plan is only as good as how serious the team makes it. With that, some parts of a plan can’t or shouldn’t change, some can or should change, and some have to change. It’s like a living document and an important one.

AO in his art studio with his football art paintings of Chiefs players Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce and a Salvador Perez baseball painting.

I have also learned that if you have no marketing plan, like no graphic standards document or brand standards document, you are heading down a dark road with no headlights. It is also possible that you may lose site of your business goals, which can head you down a weird tunnel once you get deeper in the year and into your projects. So beware, you may want to avoid that type of stress.

To me, marketing is in everything we do as creatives, both in and out of the studio (I’ll elaborate on that in a later AOART5 Article). So it seems to me that Godin sees marketing similarly to how I see a painting project or a logo design project. Godin writes, “Our opportunity and our obligation is to do marketing we are proud of.” It’s that simple.

Do your research, ask questions, follow your heart, put the work in, make the best art and designs you can, enjoy a good latte from time to time, and don’t quit.

Thank you for reading and best of luck,

Side Note: In my 2023 marketing plan, I plan to post an AO Article like this one at least every month. Please keep an eye out for it. I hope these small articles will inspire and create a spark about business and of course a spark for your art and design. Keep creating.

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